It’s finally time to revive “Sparky” from its years of inactivity. Given my budget constraints and admittedly limited skills in mechanics, I’ve prioritized the necessary repairs and maintenance tasks. The list below I composed and gave to the mechanics in order of priority (in my limited knowledge of how things should be completed).

So far, my efforts have been modest but essential. I’ve cleaned the carburetor, replaced the air filter, drained the old gasoline, crafted new seat covers, and tackled some general aesthetic improvements. While these tasks are relatively small, they’re significant for a vehicle that once performed flawlessly.

I’m thrilled to have the expertise of Air Cooled Express on board for this project. Established in 2011, Air Cooled Express has become a go-to destination for VW owners across the Midwest, renowned for its premier services. Mike Carroll, the owner and a seasoned Volkswagen expert, leads a skilled team that brings together decades of expertise in air-cooled engines. This collective experience has shaped Air Cooled Express into one of the most esteemed vintage Volkswagen workshops in the region.

PHASE 1 | Safe & Legal

Priority Work, including Returning it to Running Reliably, Confirming it is Roadworthy Safe & Making it Street Legal


  • Inspection & Develop a Plan – This is exciting to have your team give me your professional opinion on how the bus is and what you recommend.
  • Engine – Some days it is very difficult to get started. Sometimes it does not idle well and dies. Tune up, compression check, etc. You’re the experts. 🙂
  • Fuel System – Replace fuel lines, filter, fill tube etc. as you recommend.
  • Oil Leaks – Significant leak started at passenger rear (kind of directly below battery) after sitting for a few years.
  • Suspension & Steering – Please check.
  • Brakes – They sometimes feel “spongy” and I need to pump them to get them to engage. Brake booster?
  • Battery Tray – It’s shot. New one needed.
  • Wires, Wires, Everywhere! – I’ve been amazed by the number or sliced or loose wires that were hanging around, yet it still runs. A while back I started putting yellow electrical tape over these ends, just to keep them from touching anything and to someday ID them.
  • Lights, etc. – Getting the proper exterior lighting working to make it street legal.
  • Urgent Body/Frame/Metal Work – Hopefully not, but if there’s anything safety or operational-related that needs to be dealt with first.


Stuff that needs to get done next, or if budget allows, now…


    • New Tires – After talking with a number of bay window forum folks, I’ve decided to go with a set of Hankook Vantra RA18.
    • Speedometer & Odometer – Used to work, but quit working fewer than 100 miles before I quit driving it.
    • Fuel Gage – I can’t remember, but I don’t think it works. It used to.
    • Interior Heat & Ventilation – There’s no heat nor blowing air. Yeah. Sucks!
    • Horn – It doesn’t even have one! Need.
    • Sun Visors – Gone but not forgotten – especially when driving into the sun in the morning.
    • Windshield Washer Not Working – Haven’t checked if it has the motor, but the tank is missing.
    • Pop Top Canvas – It’s shot. Needs replaced.

PHASE 3 | Body Work

Stuff that needs to get done next, or if budget allows, now…


      • Suggested Body Work & Repair
      • Paint – Same original color as original, but with modern paint.
      • Body Rubber & Weatherstripping – Replace as needed.

PHASE 4 | Wants not Needs


        • Brighter Lighting (interior & exterior) – Can LED lights and/or bulbs replace current fixtures? Nothing obnoxious.
        • Fire Safety – Add a fire suppression system in engine compartment.
        • Stereo & Speakers – Stereo works. Speaker sounds like a 1970s public swimming pool PA.
        • Tachometer – Can one be added?
        • Curtains – Not sure if we want to go with original pattern or plain off-white.

The mechanics I decided to hire to do the work is Air Cooled Express in Bennington, Nebraska (just north of Omaha). 

15215 Harvest Lane
Bennington, Nebraska

Phone: (402) 689-1815